High crimes and misdemeanors, quid pro quo, bribery, abuse of power, blah, blah, blah.
Sick of the impeachment theater yet?
This writer doesn't have a favored actor in the theater, since I didn't vote for Trump or Hillary. Nor do I think for a moment that any politician on the national stage or waiting in the wings is capable of bringing the nation together while reversing decades of bad economic policy, bad social policy, bad trade policy, bad foreign policy, and bad healthcare policy.
Declining empires tend not to produce honorable statesmen and stateswomen.
Whether I'm stupid or smart in that assessment, and regardless of your political affiliation, the chances are good that you agree that the impeachment hearings were the theater of the absurd.
The first absurdity is the role played by the corrupt, two-bit country of Ukraine in the bruhaha. Does anyone in the State Department understand the history of that rump country and why Russia sees it in the Russian sphere of influence instead of the West's sphere?
Of the scores of graduates of Georgetown University in the State Department, it doesn't appear that many of them learned at the outrageously expensive college that 20 to 28 million Russians were killed in WWII; that for good reason, Russia has always been fearful of invasion from the west (and from the south), and thus wants to protect its flank with a buffer; that for its immense size, Russia is mostly landlocked with few warm-water ports and navigable rivers; and that for this reason, it puts a high strategic value on unrestricted access to the Black Sea and on its navy base in Syria.
It doesn't take a genius to know that Russians have an inferiority complex from losing their status as a world power, an inferiority complex that former KGB skunk Putin not only shares but uses to his political advantage. Therefore, as untrustworthy as Putin may be, the smart strategy would have been for the USA to play to his psychology and to the psychology of the Russian people, so that Russia would have allied with the USA against China instead of allying with China against the USA.
The second absurdity is the testimony of so-called legal/constitutional professors at the impeachment hearings. Parents with kids at the expensive universities where the professors have tenure should yank their kids from the schools, because if the profs are examples of the thinking among the faculty, the education is substandard. The profs didn't seem to know that impeachment is a political act, not an intellectual exercise.
The third absurdity is that Trump's alleged misdeeds pale in comparison to the misdeeds of other presidents. Consider:
- Woodrow Wilson imprisoned journalists for sedition.
- Franklin Roosevelt tried to stack the Supreme Court.
- John F. Kennedy secretly had the CIA plan, fund and coordinate the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. He also looked the other way when South Vietnam President Ngo Dinh Diem was assassinated. And he frolicked with Mafia mistresses in the White House and hid his addiction to pain killers. Of course, he didn't have to worry about the deep state at the Justice Department undermining him, because his brother was Attorney General.
- Lyndon Johnson lied about the Gulf of Tonkin incident and deceived the American people during the Vietnam War, leading to the deaths of 55,000 Americans and creating a rift in the country that still exists today.
- As a presidential candidate, Richard Nixon used back-channel contacts to convince South Vietnam President Nguyen Van Thieu not to agree to a peace deal between the Johnson administration and the North Vietnamese, promising Thieu that if he (Nixon) were elected, he would make sure that the South got a better deal. Of course, he later resigned as president before being impeached for covering up the Watergate burglary.
- Ronald Reagan was culpable in the Iran/Contra scandal, in which arms were secretly sold to Iran in violation of an arms embargo, in order to use the proceeds to fund the Contras in Nicaragua. He also sent his envoy Donald Rumsfeld to Baghdad on December 20, 1983, to assure dictator Saddam Hussein of American support, at a time that Iraq was using chemical weapons in its war with Iran.
- Bill Clinton was impeached for lying to Congress about his consensual sex with Monica Lewinsky, but he was never punished for raping Juanita Broderick as Governor of Arkansas. Then, when Hillary was secretary of state, both of them twisted the arms of foreign leaders to donate to the Clinton Foundation, in an implied quid pro quo.
- Barack Obama's attorney general, Loretta Lynch, met with Bill Clinton at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport while Hillary was under investigation. And Obama meddled in an Israeli election for political reasons—namely, because of a dislike of Prime Minister Netanyahu.
There are many more examples of presidential misdeeds that were worse than Trump's alleged misdeeds. The difference is that the other presidents were not as obnoxious as Trump.
I'm not a constitutional scholar, but I don't believe that being obnoxious is a high crime and misdemeanor.